Client: State of Netherlands
Location: The Hague, Netherlands
Completion date: 2019
Jacob van der Beugel
Jacob van der Beugel
The DNA Room for King and Queen of Netherlands. Commissioned by the Dutch State, the room functions as a State reception room for dignitaries. The walls are approximately 80msq, created out of 80,000 handmade individual ceramic blocks. The walls are sectioned into 5 portraits that have translated the actual DNA of, the King, the Queen, a past portrait, a future portrait and a global citizen portrait. In such a political and important room inclusivity and diversity were my main considerations whilst acknowledging the historical significance of the Royal family. Clay, with all of its metaphorical associations, plays a fundamental role in creating an artistic narrative in this space. Everyone who steps foot into the room is surrounded by complex notions of identity and the importance of context in establishing a coherent sense of self. Art has this ability to hold paradoxical positions. By laboriously creating each block by hand (a 3 year long process), a softness and humanity is retained in the final aesthetic.
Integration was highly significant, into this historic building. Due to the historic significance of the room sensitivity was a key factor. The goal was to represent the King and also the everyday person. The project was tailor made for the space and could not exist anywhere else. The goal was to make a place of significance, place making.
I collaborated with architects who need to remain anonymous, historic buildings supervisors of the Dutch State and scientists, so that the genetic data that was translated was accurate and symbolic of diversity and inclusivity.
Then each block was made by hand. 256 different coloured clays were mixed so that a seamless colour transition occurs across the spectrum of horizontal banding.
This is a highly significant art installation into a unique setting. It has been designed so that future generations can enjoy the space. It is now also used as the space to swear in new members of the Dutch Cabinet.